Saturday, April 17, 2010


12 April: GUADALCANAL ISLAND in the Solomon Islands. This is the largest
island in the archipelago and is home to the national capital, Honiara where
about 57,000 people live. Most of us did not have any time in the city and
spent all of our time ashore in search of birds. The wake-up call was at
3:45 am. At 4:30 am, we made a dry landing by Zodiac at the rather dingy
dock. It was still dark and the rank smell of bagged copra hung in the humid
air. We boarded the bus for the 45 minute ride up to Mount Austin. Once at
the top, we walked downhill along a logging road to the Lungga River.
Birding was excellent! Some of the species I encountered were: Ducorp's
Cockatoo, Solomon Islands Cuckoo-shrike, Steel-blue Flycatcher, White-winged
Fantail, Brown-winged Starling, Cardinal Lory, Claret-breasted and Superb
Fruit-doves; and Black-headed Myzomela. I walked alone for part of the time.
At one point I could hear the calls of the Blyth's Hornbill— even its wings
beating as it flew from one tree to the next. Finally, our local guide got
me on this magnificent hornbill, as it was feeding in the treetops, only a
few feet off the road! At the river, I took photos of my friend, Jim, for
whom Guadalcanal held a special significance due to the war. Sitting around
and taking in the view, we spotted a beautiful male Electus Parrot, which
Jim got in his scope. Finally, we both saw a White-billed Crow flying over
the canopy. It was a very successful landing for us! By 1 pm, we had boarded
the bus to return to our ship and head for our next stop.
Debi Shearwater, birding in the Solomon Islands

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